As a person who forgets everything (I mean, literally, everything, it’s worrysome), Evernote is one of the most important apps in my life. I use it to store all the info I want to hang on to for dear life. I save articles in there, I write stories in there, I take notes and notes and notes and notes and notes in there. I use the web clipper all the time…It’s like Instapaper on steroids.
Evernote is fantastic on the desktop, but on my phone and iPad, I’m only willing to call it “good”. Why? Because the desktop version of the app has one key feature that the mobile version doesn’t have.
You can see here that I am trying to save (or “Clip”, in their words) an article from my home computer. Evernote gives me the option to clip:
- The page in its entirety
- The “Article”, which is just the “meat” of the page
- “Simplified Article,” An ad-free, style-free version of the page (again, Instapaper-on-roids)
- A portion of the page (like a screen grab or a selector kinda thing)
- Just the bookmark/link with details
And from there I can add tags and store in the notebook of my choice.
Now let’s see what happens when I try to clip a web page on my iOS device, using the Evernote extension.
I have the page title of the page I’m trying to save in focus…so far, so good.
I can choose a tag or a notebook to which to save. Love it, fantastic.
BUT! I can’t format the note itself. I can only save the page in full.
What a let-down. And so, here, before the entire internet, I ask you, Evernote:
Would It Kill You?
Now, I’ll bet you there’s a very good and technical answer to why they do it this way. Maybe it’s too complex to manage that on smaller devices? But how can that be? All I REALLY want out of my iOS clipper are options for:
- Article, so I can cut the headers/extraneous junk out of my notes
- Simplified Article
The Happy Path here, as I see it:
- I click “Evernote” from my list of actions on iOS
- I choose what kind of note I want to save (e.g., “Article,” “Simplified Article,” etc.)
- I use my tags and such
- I save the note
Better still, I’d rather set a DEFAULT for the mobile clipper. So, let’s say I’m on my phone and I see an article I want to save: if I go to Settings, I should be able to select “Save as Bookmark by Default”. That way, I always know what I’m getting.
Now, I get why PDF and specific selections might be harder to achieve on mobile, when you don’t have the advantage of a cursor. Evernote WILL allow you to save a chunk of text without the rest of the stuff, if you:
- Highlight the text you want
- Tap the highlighted area
- Click “Share…”
- Choose Evernote
You will see the text and Evernote will allow you to mark it up and save it. So, that’s the “Selection” piece sorted, which sort of works akin to the screenshot method.
But when I try to save just the URL, I get the ENTIRE web page, as you can see in this screenshot I took of the URL for the Wikipedia entry for the Traveling Wilburys.
But why? I didn’t want the entire site. If I did I would have used the page functions. I would expect the URL to simply save a bookmark to the URL, as it does on the web clipper.
Evernote is a crucial part of my day-to-day life. I don’t intend to ever quit using it. That said, if their engineers could see fit to make the kind of note you are saving selectable on mobile platforms, that would make it “God Tier,” as the kids say. If anyone knows of some way to achieve this, please reach out to me, I’ll update this post so we can all do it a little bit better.
But for real, if you know someone at Evernote, show them this, and ask if it will literally actually kill them.